The year was 2016, and the political crisis, as well as the polarization of ideologies, was explicit in the country. Brazil was going through impeachment process, which months later resulted in the withdrawal of Dilma Rousseff of power.
Artistic demonstrations against corruption or the impeachment process have become more frequent everywhere. After the vote that started the impeachment process, when the former federal deputy Jair Bolsonaro honored Ustra, a dead military man accused of practicing torture during the military dictatorship, artists rebelled to repudiate the act.
In an artistic performance held at MASP, São Paulo, a group of artists met with pictures of politicians and spit on them, as a way to repudiate what they did. Priscilla Toscano got the photo of Bolsonaro. The group was encouraging the public to do the same and little by little artists and visitors spat on the image of several deputies.
One woman in particular told Priscila that spitting was not close to what Bolsonaro represented. The artist then had the idea of doing something more after that speech: as she was dressed, she discreetly lowered her underwear and urinated and then defecated on the politician’s photo.
After the event, the performance reverberated on TV, internet and print media. Tuscany began to be more than criticized: he began to be threatened with death and harassed by the most fanatical followers of the parliamentarian. In order to protect herself, she had to move out of the house, redesign her look and stop giving theater classes at a cultural workshop, as the days and times of the classes were posted on the websites of political activists, who kept chasing her.
Time has passed and hardly anyone else has heard of the artist, but anyone who thinks that the consequences of her performance made her abandon art is mistaken. Priscilla was interviewed by Catraca Livre during the coronavirus pandemic and spoke about what happened, as well as her current life.
Toscano says that in addition to all the changes she had to go through to protect herself in 2016, she was also summoned to testify about what happened, as she was being investigated for an obscene act. Priscila said about the testimony with her lawyer at a police station: “I did urinate and defecate, yes, in the image of a federal deputy who praised a torturer of the military dictatorship. In the end, it was proven before the Law that there was no obscene act in my action, but the use of the artistic metaphor expressed as a political manifesto ”.
The controversial performance paid off well, despite the risks. Toscano began to receive invitations to participate in artistic events abroad, both to perform alone, and with his group, Desvio Coletivo. Priscila represented Brazil at cultural events in Portugal, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Malaysia and South Korea.
Priscila guarantees that many artists left her after the event, and that many of them she considered as friends. Their justification is that they did not want to mix with politics. When reflecting on what happened four years ago, Priscila is convinced and objective when saying:
“I never wanted to shit on the image of a federal deputy. Based on freedom of expression and using the representative figure, I shit in the image of the apology for torture. I shit on the image of machismo. I shit on the image of racism. In the image of disrespect for the Indians. In prejudice to the entire LGBTQ + community and the repression of different ways of loving. I never intended, nor would I have to violate anyone’s honor or image. And today I would shit again and with more desire. Because today I wouldn’t shit on the image of a president. Today I would shit at the image of death. Shit on the image of a foreman who puts his people hostage to a pandemic and also to his authoritarianism. ”